Costa Cruises announces the introduction of the “Costa Safety Protocol”
While waiting for the final authorization to restart its operations, Costa Cruises announces the introduction of the “Costa Safety Protocol”, the new health and hygiene protocol specifically designed to guarantee the best holiday experience with maximum safety.
Supported by a panel of independent scientific experts in Public Health coordinated by V.I.H.T.A.L.I. (Value in Health Technology and Academy for Leadership and Innovation), a spin-off of the Università Cattolica of Rome, Costa Cruises has worked in line with several global and national health guidelines to develop the “Costa Safety Protocol”.
The protocol include a very comprehensive set of measures and procedures, including the safety of crew members as they return to work on board, the booking process, embarking and disembarking operations in port, life and medical care on board and shore excursions.
Part of the initiative is also the application to the RINA’s Biosafety Trust Certification, a scheme that examines all aspects of life on board – from hotel services to catering, fitness and relaxation areas – and confirms the correct management of health issues, following a series of audits conducted both on the ships and shoreside.
First of all, with regards to crew, Costa is implementing measures to pre-screen each crew member in their own country of origin, including two different swab tests for evaluation of suspected COVID-19 cases. Upon arrival in Italy they are tested a third time; those confirmed negative are allowed on board while respecting a 14-day period of “quarantine”. Their health conditions are monitored with temperature checks every day and the swab tests to all of crew members every month.
As far as future guests are concerned, the measures include upgraded digital procedures, such as online check-in and self-certification, which can be done from home, and an increased role of digital technology such as, for example, the possibility to book services using the dedicated MyCosta app. There will be health screenings with temperature checks for guests, carried out at every access and exit to the ship in all the ports of call included in the itinerary, and once on board it will be allowed at any time of the day thanks to self-service electronic devices. Physical distancing will be respected upon arrival in each cruise terminal, with similar measures for shore tours, which have been redesigned with small groups of people and staggered departures, with sanitization of buses before and after each use.
Life on board will also be redesigned by the new procedures – first and foremost by a reduction in the number of guests, in order to guarantee appropriate distancing and avoid public gatherings. The use of masks will be mandatory when indoor, while outdoor it will be required in all situations where distancing is not possible, according to the regulations valid onshore.
The interiors and outside decks of each ship will be subjected to more frequent cleaning and sanitization using special products, as well as additional disinfection dispensers will be placed at check-in and on board. The on-board ventilation systems have been equipped with new filters that ensure high filtering efficiency of fresh air from the outside, minimizing the recirculation of the internal one.
Entertainment programs and catering will be also rearranged in compliance with the new safety standards. The entertainment offer has been modified to allow more shows during the day for smaller groups of people. As for catering, self service restaurants will not be operated and all meals will be served by the Costa staff.
Onboard medical care for all guests and crew will be available around the clock. The ships will be equipped with PCR-test-kits and diagnostic devices authorized by European Union for the immediate evaluation of suspected COVID-19 cases, and the medical team on board has been trained in the relevant test procedures and treatment methods. Together with the responsible authorities, extensive processes have been developed to facilitate medical care, safe disembarkation and a safe return home as quickly as possible for patients diagnosed with a confirmed COVID-19 case. Medical services related to flu symptoms or related to breathing difficulties are free of charge for all guests and specific insurance coverage is provided.
Specific training modules will be created dealing with compliance with the new health protocols and implementation of the associated shipboard management system, which will tighten the already strict procedures in place on board of Costa’s ships.
The scientific advisory board involved in “Costa Safety Protocol” includes Giancarlo Icardi, Full Professor of Hygiene, Department of Health Sciences of the University of Genoa; Director of the Interuniversity Center for Influenza Research; UOC Director of Hygiene – San Martino Hospital, Genoa; Roberto Ieraci, Scientific Referent for ASL Roma1 vaccinations, former Director of UOC Vaccinations Center for international vaccinations Asl Roma 1; Patrizia Laurenti, Associate Professor of Hygiene at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (UCSC); Director of the Hospital Hygiene Complex Operating Unit, Department of Women’s, Children’s and Public Health Sciences – University Hospital Foundation “A. Gemelli” IRCCS; member of the Scientific Committee for Hospital Infections of the FPG-IRCCS; Umberto Moscato, Associate Professor of Occupational Medicine and Hygiene at the UCSC and Medical Director of the Hospital Hygiene Service, Department of Women’s, Children’s and Public Health Sciences-University Hospital Foundation “A. Gemelli ”IRCCS; member of the Technical-Scientific Committee for Hospital Infections of the FPG-IRCCS; Stefano Vella, former Director of the ISS Global Health Center; Adjunct Professor, Global Health, UCSC, Rome; VIHTALI Senior Consultant.
The company will provide extensive information about the enhanced protocols and procedures through its website and dedicated communication and trade channels.